Chicago’s roads are teeming with 18-wheelers and commercial trucks. If you experienced a collision with one of these massive vehicles, you might have suffered serious injuries that generated significant medical bills. Time away from work could further deepen the financial impact of the accident.
However, if a truck driver caused your accident, you can file a claim against the trucking company’s insurer. If they try to deny or undervalue your claim, you can file a lawsuit and have a court decide an award to cover your losses. Just keep in mind that going up against these entities can be extremely challenging. With so much at stake, you might consider hiring a Chicago truck accident lawyer to fight for fair compensation.
You can call The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700 to take this burden off your shoulders. Call us today for a free consultation.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident?
You cannot accurately calculate the average settlement for a truck accident case unless you have access to every truck accident case ever settled. The circumstances and outcomes of each accident differ, even in the most similar cases. This holds particularly true for victims’ damages. In the aftermath of a truck accident, each person suffers from different financial, physical, and emotional losses.
Several factors weigh into the amount of compensation that an insurance company would be willing to pay an injured claimant.
Insurers Do Not Necessarily Pay What Your Case Is Worth
Keep in mind that the insurance company may not necessarily pay for the calculated cost of your damages. Some insurance companies offer pre-determined amounts––regardless of how serious a claimant’s accident was. To secure financial recovery for your truck accident-related losses, you may need to negotiate a settlement with the liable insurer. You may hire a Chicago truck accident lawyer to do this for you.
The Stronger Your Case, the Better Your Settlement
In general, insurance companies do not want lawsuits because going to court might cost more than settling. It stands to reason that if you do not have a strong case, then the insurer may not offer you a fair settlement. If they do not think that your case will hold up in court, you may experience complications getting the money you need.
This is where an attorney can make a big difference. A truck accident lawyer knows the types of evidence that can bolster your claim. If you are able to present a strong case to the insurance company, then they may offer you adequate compensation for your losses.
You Will Need to Prove Liability to Recover Compensation
Your ability to prove liability for your losses may factor into the amount of compensation you can receive.
You must prove:
- Duty of care. The truck driver had a responsibility to keep others safe.
- Breach of duty of care. The truck driver failed to uphold their duty of care.
- Causation. The truck driver’s breach of duty of care caused your accident.
- Damages. You experienced financial losses as a result of your accident.
To learn more about proving these four elements, call The Kryder Law Group, LLC.
You Will Need to Support Your Case with Evidence
A Chicago truck accident lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can build your case by tapping into their investigative resources. They can manage the evidence collection process while you focus on your personal life. The evidence you gather ultimately could affect the amount of compensation you receive.
Our legal team will gather evidence by:
- Visiting the accident scene
- Reviewing the accident report
- Interviewing witnesses
- Analyzing the truck driver’s logs
- Checking into the truck driver’s driving history
- Viewing photos and footage from traffic cameras
- Studying “black box” data from the truck
- Working with accident reconstruction specialists
- Gathering your medical records
- Obtaining your employment records
We will leave no stone unturned as we build your case. The sooner we begin, the more access we could have to certain pieces of evidence. Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700.
For a free legal consultation with a personal injury lawyer serving Chicago, call (312) 598-0739
What Damages Can I Collect for a Truck Accident?
The damages you can collect for a truck accident directly relate to the type and severity of your injuries. The more serious your injuries, the greater their impact on your finances and life.
You may be able to pursue the following accident-related damages:
Medical Treatment and Expenses
Your injuries may generate hefty medical bills that you could include as part of your claim.
Some of these expenses include:
- Emergency transportation
- Doctors’ fees
- Surgeons’ fees
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Physical rehabilitation
When calculating the value of your case, your lawyer can determine if your health insurance coverage pays for some of your medical costs.
Your injuries may trigger a set of expenses that impact certain aspects of your lifestyle. For instance, if your truck accident resulted in paralysis, you may not be able to drive your vehicle without certain modifications.
Examples of these recoverable damages include:
- Assistive mobility devices (such as a wheelchair and crutches)
- Home modifications (like ramps and door widening)
- In-home services (including housekeeping, cooking, child care, and lawn maintenance)
You may be able to seek related losses not included here.
Loss of Income
If your condition required intensive care, such as hospitalization or surgery, you may have missed valuable time from work. Your lost income—along with any benefits you missed because of your absence from work—count as recoverable damages. Sometimes, an injury can prevent an accident victim from resuming work or at least continuing in the same field as they once did.
If this is true in your case, you might be able to recover payment that accounts for your lost wages, employee benefits, bonuses, and diminished earning capacity.
So far, we have discussed damages that have verifiable monetary values. However, a truck accident can also cause an injured victim to incur non-economic damages.
These damages might include:
- Impaired quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If you lost a loved one due to a truck accident, you might consider pursuing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Some non-economic damages in a wrongful death case include loss of consortium, loss of household benefits, and loss of parental guidance.
Chicago Truck Accidents Lawyer Near Me (312) 598-0739
How Long Does a Truck Accident Claim Take to Settle?
There is no telling how long it will take for your truck accident claim to settle. If the insurance company is cooperative and accepts liability, you could resolve your case in a matter of days. However, if the insurance company questions the validity of your injuries, the cause of the accident, and the cost of your damages, the financial recovery process could take much longer.
There are many factors that could impact the timeliness of your case’s resolution.
Some of those elements include:
Your Ability to Prove Fault and Liability
Many truck accident claims begin with identifying the individual or entity responsible for the collision. This identification typically requires an investigation, sometimes at the request of the trucking company’s insurance provider.
However, some factors may speed up the investigative process. For instance, if traffic camera footage captured the collision, identifying the at-fault party may be fairly straightforward. If the truck driver had a history of traffic infractions, this could also be used to support your allegations.
A Chicago truck accident lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can manage the investigation process and determine who is responsible for your losses. They can also employ strategies to fight against any disputes regarding your case.
How the Truck Driver Caused the Accident
There are many ways in which a truck operator can cause a crash. Your lawyer’s ability to determine the cause of your accident could affect the progression of your case.
From our experience, the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Truck operator fatigue
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving under the influence
- Being inexperienced
- Inclement weather conditions
- Hazardous roadway conditions
When you hire a Chicago truck accident lawyer to help with your case, they will investigate the cause of your collision and present their findings to the insurance company. Depending on the strength of their findings, they may be able to achieve a timely resolution to your case.
Your Portion of Fault
Illinois operates under a modified comparative negligence system, per 735 ILCS 5/2-1116. If a claimant is more than 51% responsible for a crash, they could be barred from recovering compensation. The other party may argue that you caused the accident, and therefore, should not be able to recover compensation. If this happens in your situation, this could affect how long it takes for your truck accident case to settle.
Even if you believe that you were partially at fault for the accident, you should still reach out to The Kryder Law Group, LLC. Our team can decide whether your portion of fault is accurate and whether you should be entitled to compensation. If the other party tries to assert that you caused the accident, then we can provide evidence to show otherwise.
Insurance Company Negotiations
After determining that the truck driver, trucking company, or maintenance provider was at fault for your accident, negotiations with the liable insurance company will begin. Depending on the facts of your case, the negotiation process could take time. At the end of the day, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their goal is to save their agency money by paying injured claimants as little compensation as possible.
Working with a lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can serve to level the playing field, protect your rights, and defend you against bad faith insurance practices.
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Truck Accident?
The American Bar Association (ABA) asserts that most personal injury cases, including truck accidents, usually do not make it to court. However, depending on the amount of money at stake, you may be unable to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit.
Some reasons why your lawyer may file a lawsuit include:
If the insurance company denies liability, your lawyer might recommend filing a lawsuit and having the issue of compensation be decided by a judge.
For the most part, however, both sides of a truck accident case will want to avoid the time commitment and expense of going to trial. If the insurance company sees the case your lawyer has built on your behalf, and they believe the case will hold up well in court, they may extend a fair settlement offer.
They Want to Encourage a Pre-Trial Settlement
Even in cases where a lawsuit is ultimately filed, a settlement can be reached before the trial actually commences. This scenario most often occurs during pre-trial discovery. In this phase of the lawsuit, which takes place after pleadings and prior to the trial itself, the involved parties exchange documents and other information. The court actually encourages parties to resolve their differences during this exchange rather than proceeding to trial.
Having a lawyer by your side during pre-trial proceedings can help ensure that discovery follows the proper protocols. Your lawyer will also make sure that your case is built on evidence, thereby encouraging the other party to consider a settlement rather than going to trial.
The At-Fault Party Is Uninsured or Underinsured
An uninsured or underinsured truck driver might be at fault for your accident. In this case, you can file a claim with your own uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage. However, if your policy limits do not cover all your damages, you might elect to file a lawsuit and recover your losses through that method.
Without reviewing the facts of your case, there is no telling whether you will need to go to court. You can call The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700 to learn more.
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What Should I Do in the Days Following a Truck Accident?
In the days following a truck accident, the most important thing is for you to see a doctor. You want to do this not only for the obvious reason of detecting and treating any injuries but also to document your condition.
It is not uncommon for different types of injuries to manifest days after a collision. By visiting a doctor, you can get an expert opinion on your injuries. A physician will know how to check for injuries you might not yet know about, such as head injuries, which can create serious medical problems for you if left untreated.
You Should Keep Evidence Related to Your Injuries
Your doctor’s appointment does more than take care of your physical health. This visit also serves as an opportunity to build your case.
Be sure to let the doctor know that you just experienced a truck accident. Ask them to examine you and check for injuries that might accompany this type of incident. Describe in detail to the medical provider all of your symptoms, pain, and discomfort. Also, be certain you leave the medical center with documentation of your injuries, including the dates of follow-up appointments, imaging scan results, the names of medications, and the name of your healthcare provider.
You Should Follow Through with Your Doctor’s Recommendations
After the accident, your doctor may suggest a certain course of treatment. Some recommendations can include bed rest, immobilization, medications, and physical therapy. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Following through with your doctor’s recommended course of treatment is of the utmost importance. You do not want to give the other party the chance to say that you made your injuries worse.
Some of the most common types of trucking accident injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Dislocated and/or fractured bones
- Muscle sprains or strains
- Lacerations and cuts
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Scars and disfigurement
You may have suffered injuries not on this list.
You Should Consider Working with a Lawyer
Handling a truck accident claim on your own may not be in your best interest. In the days following a truck accident, you should consider how a lawyer may be able to help you. They can help you collect evidence, calculate your out-of-pocket losses, and identify the negligent parties. You can speak with a member of The Kryder Law Group, LLC for more information.
What Should I Do at the Scene of a Truck Accident?
Even at your most composed, navigating the scene of a truck accident can be overwhelming. Still, you should do your best to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
You should consider the following measures:
- Following the collision, try to remain calm. Pull your car over. Do not leave the accident scene. Even if you were not responsible for the crash, you can face criminal charges for fleeing the scene, per 625 ILCS 5/11-402. On top of possible criminal charges, leaving the accident scene will not bode well for you when it comes to seeking compensation.
- If possible, move your car out of the way, and put your hazard lights on.
- Immediately report the accident by calling 911. Failure to report the collision can work against you. When you talk to the police, relay the facts as you recall them, but do not admit fault for the accident. The police accident report could serve as vital evidence that may determine fault and liability.
- If your physical condition permits, try to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident. You should try to get their full name, phone number, address, license plate number, and insurance information (company and policy number). Also, note the make and model of all involved vehicles.
- You should seek medical attention right away. If you see that another individual is hurt, you have a legal duty to render aid. You may need to call an ambulance. If you have been hurt, let the police know when you call. Also, if paramedics offer to check you out at the accident scene, let them, regardless of how you feel. Remember, you are in a state of shock and might not be aware of the injuries you have suffered.
- If you have a camera, take as many photos of the accident scene as possible. Capture the entire scene, as well as the damage to any vehicles and your injuries. Try to snap some photos that show the various vehicles’ locations and any skid marks, debris, or other notable details.
- If you see witnesses around the accident scene, talk to them. Ask them what they saw, and collect their names, phone numbers, and/or email addresses.
- Call the law office of a truck accident lawyer right away, preferably while you remain at the scene. This immediate notice will give your attorney access to the freshest evidence from the accident, including accounts from eyewitnesses.
By accomplishing as many of these tasks as possible, you can help build your personal injury case.
What Can I Do to Protect My Rights After a Truck Accident?
Your actions following a truck accident can either support or jeopardize your rights. After a truck accident, you should consider the following measures. While they are not mandatory, they could ultimately support your pursuit of compensation.
You Should File a Police Report
We have already discussed the importance of calling the police immediately after the crash, but it bears repeating. The truck driver might try to talk you into not calling law enforcement, suggesting that you instead resolve the matter with them directly. However, per 625 ILCS 5/11-402, you are required to file an accident report if a collision results in deaths, injuries, or damage totaling more than $1,000. If you did not file a police report at the accident scene, then you have 10 days from the date of the crash to notify the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Still, the other driver may try to talk you out of filing a report. They may pressure you to accept money at the scene of the accident––which could ultimately work to your disadvantage, especially if you do not understand the value of your damages.
If the other driver tries to discourage you from getting a lawyer or calling the police, this could mean that something is not right. For instance, the truck driver might have been operating a vehicle without a valid license. Perhaps they exceeded the maximum driving hours for their shift as set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and they want to avoid a write-up or termination by the trucking company.
By not filing a police report, you put your personal injury case in jeopardy. You need the police report to protect your right to compensation for your injury-related expenses. You might feel fine right after the crash, but quite possibly, you could wake up the next day unable to move, or you might discover down the road that you sustained a head injury. This could result in hospitalization, surgery, time missed from work, and other financial losses.
The police report can serve as the first, most credible piece of evidence. You could have a hard time arguing for an insurance settlement or court award without it.
Watch What You Say and Post Online
Following the accident, you should limit who you share information with. The less you share about the accident, the better. Whatever you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company or the at-fault party.
Keep in mind that this warning holds especially true for social media. Try to avoid posting anything to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other accounts. No matter how harmless, your posts can be interpreted in a way that does not benefit you.
Gather Supporting Evidence
The surest way to prove that you suffered injuries and other damages from your truck accident is to document your losses. See a doctor, get copies of their diagnoses, and keep records of your medical bills. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle’s damage. Evidence is power in a personal injury case. The more supporting information you have, the smoother the claims process could be.
How Much Should You Settle for After a Truck Accident?
The value of your losses after a truck accident depends on various factors specific to your case. We have already reviewed the types of damages that you might be able to claim after your collision. Here, we will take a deeper dive into a few of those damages.
Truck accidents tend to generate serious injuries. These ailments, in turn, can generate high medical expenses. Your Chicago car accident lawyer will take into account not only the medical expenses you have already incurred but also those you can reasonably expect in the future.
You should not accept a settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). If you accept compensation from the insurance company and your condition worsens, you could be left with out-of-pocket expenses.
Serious injuries may necessitate surgeries, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and long recovery periods, which means time away from work. In addition to the physical pain and emotional turmoil of your condition, your injuries could also affect your financial stability.
Your lawyer will calculate the financial impact of any injury that impacts your ability to gain or retain employment. This expense is called “reduced future earning capacity.” To include this loss in your claim, your attorney will need to provide evidence that your injuries are keeping you from performing the work you once did before the truck accident.
Yet, this is no simple task. Your attorney will need to compare your abilities before and after the collision, then assign a monetary value accordingly. Until you fully understand the implications of your injuries on your earning capacity, you should not accept a settlement offer from the liable party.
Pain and Suffering
non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, can be difficult to calculate. However, they comprise damages you have experienced from your accident-related injuries.
Although pain and suffering may seem like a completely subjective type of expense—and it is—your truck accident lawyer understands how to calculate this loss. The severity of your injuries, your missed time from work, and your long-term impairments can factor into the monetary value of your pain and suffering.
Some other examples of non-economic damages include loss of consortium, disability, disfigurement, and impaired quality of life. You can learn more about the value of your damages by calling The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident?
Under 735 ILCS 5/13-202, you generally have two years from the date of your Chicago truck accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security with this timeframe. At the moment, two years may seem like a lifetime away. However, you must consider everything that needs to happen before you can even get to the point where you are ready to file a lawsuit.
Some factors that may encourage you to act quickly include:
The Time Needed to Investigate
Your lawyer will need ample time to investigate the facts surrounding your case. The investigation alone could take a long time, especially if multiple parties are at fault for the crash. For instance, suppose your collision was caused by a negligent driver and a defective auto part. In this scenario, your lawyer would have to manage communications with multiple insurers.
You do not want the investigative process to take too long because it could impede your ability to file a lawsuit. If you do not file your Chicago truck accident lawsuit within the state’s deadline, you could lose the right to recover compensation.
Your Recovery Period
You also have the issue of your health to deal with. Your lawyer will likely advise you to wait until you have reached MMI before calculating your damages. As noted, you want to fully understand the implications of your condition before accepting an insurance settlement. Yet, reaching MMI may take some time. It may take longer than two years for you to fully recover from your injuries. If so, your lawyer can implement a course of action.
The Time Needed to Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Your lawyer will spend a good deal of time at the negotiating table. Your attorney will first issue a demand letter to the insurer. Ideally, the insurance company will fulfill your demands and offer fair compensation. However, they could also dismiss your claim completely. If they offer a counteroffer, the negotiations begin.
If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement—or if they refuse your claim outright—your lawyer can file a lawsuit in civil court. Again, all this must happen within two years from the date of your accident. Keep in mind that if you are seeking compensation from a government entity, you may face even earlier deadlines.
Consider Working with a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you have already experienced a traumatic event. The pain of your physical injuries combined with the pressure of making ends meet could place a lot of stress on you.
Imagine taking some of that stress off your shoulders. By hiring a Chicago truck accident lawyer to handle your case, you free yourself to focus on recovering from your injuries.
Meanwhile, your lawyer can manage your case by:
- Investigating the accident
- Gathering documentation and other evidence
- Talking to witnesses
- Staying on top of deadlines
- Communicating with the insurance companies
- Protecting your rights
- Explaining your legal options
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf
- Representing you at trial
Our law firm works on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you pay us our legal fees only if we win an insurance settlement or court award on your behalf. You may have nothing to lose.
Let The Kryder Law Group, LLC take your legal obligations off your shoulders. Call us today for a free consultation at (312) 223-1700.